What experts are predicting for Sunday’s Patriots-Ravens game

Patriots

The Patriots are underdogs in their home opener, but some experts like them to pull off the upset on Sunday.

The Patriots are 1-1 against Lamar Jackson. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)

Look down below. Hardly anybody believes in the Patriots.

Bill Belichick must be loving this.

We’ve witnessed over the years just how powerful the Patriots head coach’s reminders about a lack of respect can fuel his team. It defined the 2001 champs, and lingered as an ingredient throughout the dynasty, even if it sounded downright ridiculous during years when New England was, itself, ridiculing the rest of the NFL.

But this. This is true doubt that the 2022 Patriots are facing, both on a national and local level. An eight-win season might be something to pine for with an offense currently going through growing pains, paired with a defense that has opened eyes over the season’s first two weeks, but nothing to the degree that we should think of the unit as elite.

That’s all it takes. One fortnight and all of sudden Mac Jones might not be “The Guy,” Matt Patricia’s DeVante Parker is seemingly taking time away from Kendrick Bourne, and the coaching staff seems overmatched to its capabilities.

Belichick must love the lesson plans he’s been presented with.

If only he had the right professors.

This week’s predictions:

Globe staff: Everybody loves Baltimore (-3).

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 27, Ravens 26. “The Ravens melted down in their loss to the Dolphins last week. The defense was terrible. But the Patriots haven’t done much on offense this season. This is their home opener, so I think they will get it going. Pats go to 2-1.”

ESPN staff: Eight of nine pick the Ravens (Seth Wickersham throws his pick New England’s way).

Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Patriots 24, Ravens 23. “The Patriots go from a team that had no offense to facing a team that has no defense. How else to explain the Ravens blowing a 21-point second-half lead and allowing Tua Tagovailoa to throw for 469 yards and six TDs? It’s the Patriots’ home opener.”

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: Baltimore (-3). “The Patriots are … fine. The Ravens are better than fine when they don’t let their minds drift in the fourth quarter. If the Patriots had Tyreek Hill, I’d like their chances of exploiting that Baltimore secondary the way Miami did last week. Alas.”

Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Ravens (-2.5). “Ravens (-2.5) at Patri*ts: I would recommend that Bill Belichick and the Patri*ts try drawing up some tackle eligible-like nonsense like they did in the 2014 playoffs against the Ravens, because a traditional offense isn’t going to score many points with their sucky players.”

USA Today staff: All Ravens.

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: Ravens (-3). “Yes, the Ravens are coming off a bad loss and have some injuries. But before a fourth-quarter collapse they were up 35-14 on a Dolphins team everyone is excited about. And the Patriots still have an offense that isn’t very good.”

MMQB staff: All Baltimore.

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Ravens (-2.5). “The Ravens defense fell apart last week against the Dolphins, but Jackson was terrific, completing 21 of 29 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing nine times for 119 yards and a score. The blitz gave the Ravens all kinds of issues last year, but when the Dolphins rushed five or more, Jackson was 12-for-14 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a really, really encouraging sign. As for the Patriots, Nelson Agholor delivered a nice 44-yard TD grab last week in their win against the Steelers. But their offense just doesn’t have a lot of juice. I hate going against Bill Belichick as a home underdog, and Jackson is playing through an elbow injury, but I think the Patriots are going to have a tough time here.”

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Ravens 24, Patriots 20. “Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ downfield passing game is humming and he became the entire running game in Week 2, too. The Patriots don’t have the receivers to keep the Ravens’ secondary slumping and Mac Jones isn’t getting what he needs from the rushing attack. There are enough holes in the New England defense in intermediate to deep coverage for John Harbaugh’s team to get the better of Bill Belichick’s in this long-standing coaching rivalry.”

Bill Bender, Sporting News: Ravens 27, Patriots 24. “The Ravens and Patriots each lost to the Dolphins. Lamar Jackson has split two career starts against New England, but he completed more than 70% of his passes in those games. The Ravens need somebody other than Jackson to step in the running game, because that’s what Bill Belichick is going to key in on. This is a tough one to pick, but we’ll trust the Ravens on the road.”

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 24, Patriots 14. “If Baltimore can get J.K. Dobbins back, the offense would get a major boost. Other than Lamar Jackson, no one is able to generate any real rushing yards for the Ravens. Meanwhile, the New England offense continues to be a work in progress.”

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 31, Patriots 20. “Lamar Jackson is playing some of his best football right now, and he’ll cruise to a big game in New England.”

FiveThirtyEight: Ravens, 51 percent.

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Ravens 23, Patriots 19. “The Patriots’ defense has given up just two touchdowns in as many weeks, making few mental mistakes. The team’s running game is ahead of schedule after apocalyptic reports in camp. But it will be tough to consistently move the Ravens’ massive front, and Lamar Jackson is that dude who makes sound New England defenses look silly, even in the best of times.”

NFL Pickwatch: Eighty-nine percent, Ravens (-145).

It says here: Ravens 28, Patriots 10. Like the stadium itself, the Patriots’ offense is still under construction with no timetable for maturation.

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